Animal Rights Groups Offer Reward for Evidence of Abuse at Salk Institute

Last Chance for Animals and San Diego Animal Advocates garnered some press earlier this month in a transparent publicity attempt — the two groups offered a reward of up to $30,000 for evidence of animal cruelty at the Salk Institute.

In a press release announcing the offer, the San Diego Animal Advocates said,

In conjunction with the Los Angeles-based group Last Chance for Animals, SDAA is offering a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the conviction on animal cruelty charges of a principal investigator and the Salk Institute in San Diego, after our groups were tipped by an anonymous source that animals are being mistreated.

. . .

We will also offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to official sanctions and termination of grants and research projects at Salk for animal abuse. These rewards are necessary to expose the truth because employees are threatened with loss of their jobs.

Last Chance for Animals Chris De Rose said in a prepared statement,

Salk officials have refused to meet with us to discuss the information we received. So now we are going directly to the employees who are witnessing this cruelty and asking them to help us expose it.

Jane Cartmill of San Diego Animal Advocates hints at the real reason behind this little stunt, complaining in a prepared statement about a recent $7 million donation to the Salk Institute by Qualcomm President and CEO Irwin Jacobs. The money will be used to fund the Crick-Jacobs Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology. According to a Salk Institute press release,

The goal of the center will be to help Salk scientists organize the wealth of information that is now available about the genes and proteins that regulate nerve cell activity as well as the networks of nerve cells that regulate brain function. Named to honor Salk Nobel laureate Francis Crick, the center will build upon Crick’s important work during the past two decades centering on consciousness and cognitive processing within the brain.

. . .

The center will allow computational biologists to mine the enormous amount of data on the composition of genes and proteins in the brain as well as the neural networks that regulate information processing. The ultimate goal will be to generate theoretical models to explain how the brain works, which then will be tested in Salk laboratories by experimental neuroscientists. To advance this work, the institute is in the process of recruiting up to four new faculty members to staff the center.

Cartmill is horrified at that prospect, saying that, “Brain-mapping experiments are among the most devastating to animals and involve tremendous deprivation and suffering.”

But apparently not so horrified as to bother to discuss his allegations with the Salk Institute. A Salk Institute spokesman told NBCSandiego.Com that it had tried to contact the group about the allegations but received no reply,

The Salk Institute takes all allegations of animal abuse seriously. On Oct. 22, the Salk Institute requested the San Diego Animal Advocates provide in writing the specifics of their unsubstantiated allegations about animal abuse. To this date, the institute has not received a response to its request.

Imagine that.


Salk Institute Receives $7 Million Gift to Establish Neuroscience Center Press Release, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, December 17, 2003.

Groups offer $20,000 for evidence of Salk animal cruelty. Sign on San Diego, January 2, 2004.